Planning a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway can seem daunting. There is a lot to plan and lots of decisions to be made. One big hurdle that you cannot avoid are the visas required for travel in this part of the world. Thankfully the Real Russia Trans-Siberian visa service takes the stress out of this bureaucratic and annoyingly necessary stage of planning.
Which Real Russia Trans-Siberian Visa Service Do I Need?
The Trans-Siberian is actually three different train routes that all have their own requirements:
|Route Name||Route Destinations||Visas Required||Cost||Route Notes|
|Trans-Siberian||Moscow <-> Vladivostok||Russia||From £144.23||This is the original Trans-Siberian route and spans the entire length of Russia from Moscow to the far east.|
|Trans-Manchurian||Moscow <-> Beijing Via Harbin||Russia & China||From £338.03||This route skirts the edge of Mongolia and takes you through Harbin (A must if visiting in winter)|
|Trans-Mongolian||Moscow <-> Beijing Via Ulan Bator||Russian, Mongolia & China||From £432.89||This is the most popular Trans-Siberian option for travellers as you see three distinct countries.|
You need to bear in mind the amount of time you have for your visas applications. You need to add a couple of days between each country for Real Russia to get your documents from one embassy to the next.
|Russia||6 - 21 working days from fingerprint appointment|
|China||4 working days from fingerprint appointment|
|Mongolia||6 working days|
Why Should You Use The Real Russia Trans-Siberian Visa Service?
When we started looking into, I started to feel overwhelmed. That is why I started looking for a little help. Step forward Real Russia! I loved that Real Russia seemed to care about me as a customer. They couldn’t have been more proactive and helpful. If I emailed them with a question or in a panic that I had filled something out incorrectly, they emailed back promptly and adjusted my applications. I never felt like an imposition and they always knew the answers to my questions.
What Does the Real Russia Trans-Siberian Visa Service Cost Include?
The prices in the table are the prices you will pay. For this you get:
- The letters of invitation you will need.
- All embassy admin fees and visa fees
- Delivery, collections and postage for your applications/passports/visas.
- A dedicated visa specialist to check over your visa applications.
How to Use Real Russia’s Trans-Siberian Visa Service – A Step by Step Guide
Step One – Select Your Route
Choose your route. Among other things you will need to consider:
- How long you have.
- What you want to see.
- How long you have to apply for your visas.
Step Two – Make some bookings
For these applications, you will need to have at least your accommodation booked so make a start on these bookings Using a website like Booking.com means you can select places with free cancellation. It is nice to know that you can change your mind if you find a better option.
Step Three – Application Forms
Visit the webpages for the visas you need by following the links below:
Take your time and read each question twice…like an exam when you were younger. These forms will take some time to complete. Here are the two things that were the hardest/took the most time:
- You need to have everything booked before you can apply for your visa. Your plans could change later, but you need to have all your bookings ready to show them.
- Your visa will be valid from the date you apply and you must enter within three months of application.
- You need to document all your travels for the last ten years (or the passport you are currently using). This took me a while as I couldn’t read all of my stamps very well.
Step Three – Let Real Russia Do Their Checks
It is time to send off your forms and supporting documents off to Real Russia. Personally, I was in a bit of a rush so I went into their London office, but you can send them through the post. As your passports will be in the package, we would highly recommend using a trackable service.
It is time for the Real Russia visa experts to do their thing. They will check over your applications and get in touch if anything needs to be changed. They can also edit anything that you ave realised is wrong. It was impressive how often this happened to me.
Step Four – Fingerprints
For both China and Russia, you will need to go and give your fingerprints. Real Russia will make your appointment and a courier will meet you at the visa centre with your application ready to go. Both of our appointments were hassle-free, taking just ten minutes each.
We attended both appointments and the whole thing went really smoothly. The only thing we messed up was our passport photos. They were not recent enough. How did they know? They matched our passport photos…doh! No bother, we quickly took new ones and then we were away.
Step Five – Watch Your Postbox
That’s it! Your passport will arrive back in the post when it all complete. Put it in your hand luggage and you are ready to go!!
There is undoubtedly a huge amount of planning to do when you are embarking on a TransSiberian adventure. I am genuinely so happy that we chose to go through Real Russia for our visas. They were warm, kind and very good at what they do. It meant we could focus on the rest of the trip, safe in the knowledge that our visas were being handled.
This post was written in collaboration with Real Russia but we genuinely think their service is excellent and all opinions are all our own